Book of Jasher 65

Book of Jasher 65

Chapter 65


And it came to pass after these
things, that all the counsellors of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and all the elders
of Egypt assembled and came before the king and bowed down to the ground, and
they sat before him.

And the counsellors and elders of Egypt spoke unto
the king, saying,

Behold the people of the children of Israel is greater
and mightier than we are, and thou knowest all the evil which they did to us in
the road when we returned from battle.

And thou hast also seen their strong
power, for this power is unto them from their fathers, for but a few men stood
up against a people numerous as the sand, and smote them at the edge of the
sword, and of themselves not one has fallen, so that if they had been numerous
they would then have utterly destroyed them.

Now therefore give us counsel what to
do with them, until we gradually destroy them from amongst us, lest they become
too numerous for us in the land.

For if the children of Israel should
increase in the land, they will become an obstacle to us, and if any war should
happen to take place, they with their great strength will join our enemy
against us, and fight against us, destroy us from the land and go away from it.

So the king answered the elders of Egypt and said
unto them, This is the plan advised against
Israel, from which
we will not depart,

Behold in the land are Pithom and
Rameses, cities unfortified against battle, it behooves you and us to build
them, and to fortify them.

Now therefore go you also and act
cunningly toward them, and proclaim a voice in
Egypt and in Goshen at the
command of the king, saying,

All ye men of Egypt, Goshen, Pathros and
all their inhabitants! the king has commanded us to build Pithom and Rameses,
and to fortify them for battle; who amongst you of all Egypt, of the children
of Israel and of all the inhabitants of the cities, are willing to build with
us, shall each have his wages given to him daily at the king’s order; so go you
first and do cunningly, and gather yourselves and come to Pithom and Rameses to

And whilst you are building, cause a
proclamation of this kind to be made throughout
Egypt every day at
the command of the king.

And when some of the children of Israel shall come
to build with you, you shall give them their wages daily for a few days.

And after they shall have built with
you for their daily hire, drag yourselves away from them daily one by one in
secret, and then you shall rise up and become their task-masters and officers,
and you shall leave them afterward to build without wages, and should they
refuse, then force them with all your might to build.

And if you do this it will be well
with us to strengthen our land against the children of
Israel, for on
account of the fatigue of the building and the work, the children of
Israel will
decrease, because you will deprive them from their wives day by day.

And all the elders of Egypt heard the counsel
of the king, and the counsel seemed good in their eyes and in the eyes of the
servants of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of all
Egypt, and they
did according to the word of the king.

And all the servants went away from
the king, and they caused a proclamation to be made in all
Egypt, in
Tachpanches and in
Goshen, and in all
the cities which surrounded
Egypt, saying,

You have seen what the children of
Esau and Ishmael did to us, who came to war against us and wished to destroy

Now therefore the king commanded us
to fortify the land, to build the cities Pithom and Rameses, and to fortify
them for battle, if they should again come against us.

Whosoever of you from all Egypt and from the
children of
Israel will come to
build with us, he shall have his daily wages given by the king, as his command
is unto us.

And when Egypt and all the
children of
Israel heard all
that the servants of Pharaoh had spoken, there came from the Egyptians, and the
children of
Israel to build
with the servants of Pharaoh, Pithom and Rameses, but none of the children of
Levi came with their brethren to build.

And all the servants of Pharaoh and
his princes came at first with deceit to build with all
Israel as daily
hired laborers, and they gave to
Israel their daily
hire at the beginning.

And the servants of Pharaoh built
with all
Israel, and were
employed in that work with
Israel for a month.

And at the end of the month, all the
servants of Pharaoh began to withdraw secretly from the people of
Israel daily.

And Israel went on with the work at
that time, but they then received their daily hire, because some of the men of
Egypt were yet carrying on the work with Israel at that time; therefore the
Egyptians gave Israel their hire in those days, in order that they, the
Egyptians their fellow-workmen, might also take the pay for their labor.

And at the end of a year and four
months all the Egyptians had withdrawn from the children of
Israel, so that the
children of
Israel were left
alone engaged in the work.

And after all the Egyptians had withdrawn
from the children of Israel they returned and became oppressors and officers
over them, and some of them stood over the children of Israel as task masters,
to receive from them all that they gave them for the pay of their labor.

And the Egyptians did in this manner
to the children of
Israel day by day,
in order to afflict in their work.

And all the children of Israel were alone
engaged in the labor, and the Egyptians refrained from giving any pay to the
children of
Israel from that
time forward.

And when some of the men of Israel
refused to work on account of the wages not being given to them, then the
exactors and the servants of Pharaoh oppressed them and smote them with heavy
blows, and made them return by force, to labor with their brethren; thus did
all the Egyptians unto the children of Israel all the days.

And all the children of Israel were greatly
afraid of the Egyptians in this matter, and all the children of
Israel returned and
worked alone without pay.

And the children of Israel built Pithom
and Rameses, and all the children of Israel did the work, some making bricks,
and some building, and the children of Israel built and fortified all the land
of Egypt and its walls, and the children of Israel were engaged in work for
many years, until the time came when the Lord remembered them and brought them
out of Egypt.

But the children of Levi were not
employed in the work with their brethren of Israel, from the beginning unto the
day of their going forth from Egypt.

For all the children of Levi knew
that the Egyptians had spoken all these words with deceit to the Israelites,
therefore the children of Levi refrained from approaching to the work with
their brethren.

And the Egyptians did not direct
their attention to make the children of Levi work afterward, since they had not
been with their brethren at the beginning, therefore the Egyptians left them

And the hands of the men of Egypt
were directed with continued severity against the children of Israel in that work,
and the Egyptians made the children of Israel work with rigor.

And the Egyptians embittered the
lives of the children of Israel with hard work, in mortar and bricks, and also
in all manner of work in the field.

And the children of Israel called
Melol the king of Egypt “Meror, king of Egypt,” because in his days
the Egyptians had embittered their lives with all manner of work.

And all the work wherein the
Egyptians made the children of Israel labor, they exacted with rigor, in order
to afflict the children of Israel, but the more they afflicted them, the more
they increased and grew, and the Egyptians were grieved because of the children
of Israel.

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